Well, well, APJ family, we meet again. Don’t… the pleasure is all mine!
This morning, I was filling up my car with petrol before work, and I was mulling over the vintage Coco parfum I was wearing. I love the opulent fullness of the notes and the complexity of the scent, even though the top notes have almost evaporated away. Later in the afternoon, I was to pick up a vintage Safari parfum and was already anticipating the lush dry greenness.
Vintage vs Modern Perfumes
It occurred to me that I have increasingly become adjusted to modern perfumes. A few years ago, I was adamant I’d never come to value many modern perfumes, thinking them vacuous, empty, almost skeletal in nature. An immediate corollary is found in the trucking industry; hard core fans of battered old US trucks with double clutching Road Ranger gear boxes have not come to appreciate the soft ride of the very plastic, disposable parts style of automatic Euro trucks. Yet.
I hear it constantly; washing machines were hardier back in my day, tomatoes tasted better when I was a child, I could fix those myself way back then. We all bemoan how plastic the world has become and yet we want cheaper parts, more environmentally friendly products and instant retail gratification.
Would I truly be happy with the thick, dense, all encompassing scents of the 70s? Did women back then complain about yet another aldehyde, or the clone like spicy orientals made popular by Opium (YSL)? Mind you, we had lead petrol, smoking parents and office workers, and cars with rich running carburettors that spat out half a tank of unburnt fuel on a trip to the supermarket to contend with, so perfumes HAD to rise above all that.
Are the clean, yet empty seeming scents of today that bad? We have fewer allergens (depending on who one asks, but I have no skin rashes like I did as a 70s child), less harmful practices ecologically and towards animals, plus synthetics have given us undreamed of concoctions – think how Tauer’s La Marocain may have gone down in 1972!
No, as I put the nozzle back into the bowser holder, I decided that I like the odd vintage scent because it does stand out amongst the thin juices of today. I didn’t appreciate my perfumes back then for the qualities I enjoy them for now. Having the perfume industry skeletise (yes, my own word) scents has allowed me to fully understand the glory I took for granted then. I am not wanting to return to the train-carriage-choking days of Lou Lou on a stinking hot day, or the overwhelming body dousing of classic men’s Lagerfeld though.
Though I find modern Safari as appealing as a broiling chicken done from making soup stock, and the current Samsara as plastic and nose burning as cling wrap on fire in a 1 acre factory, I am pleased there is responsible farming practices of sandalwood and ingredients are less harsh on the skin. Just as I am glad we can quickly change parts on a truck to get the driver on the road as soon as possible, lead has been taken out of petrol (those blasted headaches caused by internally leaking fuel tanks) and civets can peacefully go about their business.
Alas, getting older is bitter-sweet. However, I can, hand on heart, say that no era is any better than another. Same goes for perfume, dare I say it. There are pros and cons to them all.
Just remind me to not wear vintage Coco parfum to work again. My favourite, yet highly sensitive, co-worker gets a headache from my vintages. And January Scent Project scents. And my Guerlains. And anything tobacco, or patchouli, or violet, or naturals.
Do you concur, or are you vehemently opposed to the current state of perfumery? Where do you sit with regard to vintage perfumes?
May your week hold you with warm, safe arms.